A dedicated Irish language archive has been created in Belfast – the first such archive in Northern Ireland.
Held at Coláiste Feirste and St Mary’s University College in Belfast, the archive (Cartlann Gaeilge) contains thousands of records and spans more than 100 years. It charts the revival of the language, in particular since the 1950s, and includes photographs, letters, books, newspaper clippings and other records of interest.
Speaking about the archive, Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “Although Irish has been spoken in Belfast continuously for centuries, by the 1950s its usage was confined to a small number of dedicated clubs and societies. Since then, thanks to the passion and commitment of a small group of Irish speakers, including those who founded the Shaws Road Gaeltacht, we have seen take-up of Irish steadily grow. Indeed we now have thousands of children receiving their education, from pre-school through to post-primary, through the medium of Irish and it is the fastest growing sector of the local education system.
“This new archive tells, for the first time all in one place, the full story of this revival, using artefacts that deliver a tangible and exciting connection to historical events. The archive will be of interest to future generations of Irish learners and historians, as well as to tourists and anyone seeking to find out more about Belfast’s rich cultural heritage.”